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In the Image of God

Genesis 1:27: In the image of God created he him. 

Adam was created first and was the only human being besides Yeshua to have been created in God’s image. All others bear God’s image, but are created in Adam’s. Moses made no mistakes in his choice of words. He did not write, “In the image of God created he them,” but he wrote, “In the image of God created he him,” adding the creation of them (plural) as male and female as a distinct thought.

So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Tom Shipley points out that, while mankind may be collectively referred to as Adam, only the first man is ever called Adam as an individual.1 Throughout Genesis 1 and 2, when Moses referred to the individual characters, he referred to the man as Adam and to the woman as Ishshaw.

While all of mankind bears the image of God, woman is the image of man in the same way that a child is the image of his parents. Together, in their procreative capacity they image the creative nature of God. Separately, in their spiritual and familial roles they image other aspects of God. In 1 Corinthians 11:7-9 Paul told us that, although God is the source of us all and that mankind as a whole bears the image of God, men more specifically are that image:

“…he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

The Hebrew words used for male and female in v27 are somewhat illustrative. According to Strong’s, zakar, the Hebrew for male, means “remembered,” which one could suppose might refer to Adam being reminiscent of God. Nekebah, the Hebrew for female, is derived from nekeb or nakab, and is a more functionally oriented word and describes more of who the woman is rather than who she resembles.

God has no physical gender other than that of the Messiah’s human form, but his superior authority requires that he almost always be referred to in the masculine. He promised the Messiah and he gave the Torah. He died and he rose again. He guides us and he comforts us. God is neither female nor feminine, yet he still has something of the feminine within him; else how could Eve have been created from Adam, who was created in the image of God? While he has no sex and it is certainly incorrect to refer to him as “she,” the roles of wife and mother can be discerned in certain aspects of God. When the first part of the substance of Eve was extracted from Adam, most of the feminine and something of the masculine, both of which he had inherited from God, were put into Eve. Both men and women have masculine and feminine attributes, and in this they both bear God’s image, but men more directly.

This is not a statement of the intrinsic worth of men over women or of women over men.2 They both bear the image of God, and they are both essential to God’s plan. Would it make any sense to ask whether the sergeant or the lieutenant is more important to the plans of the general? Of course not. One has authority over the other, but they are both essential to victory. The lieutenant who believes he can effectively perform the sergeant’s duties in addition to his own is a fool, and so is the sergeant who believes that he can do the same in reverse. The woman is subordinate to the man the way the heart and lungs are subordinate to the head. Without the heart and lungs, the head is of very little use. The subordination of one to the other is of function and not of worth.

<1> Tom Shipley, Man and Woman in Biblical Law (Baltimore, Maryland: Institute for Christian Patriarchy, 2001, 2004.) 19.
<2> Stephen B. Clark points out that subordinates are very often more valuable to the success of a venture than are their superiors. Stephen B. Clark, Man and Woman in Christ. (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Books, 1980.) 23-24.

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